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reading

by Sandra Murphy
& Cynthia Chow


This week we are reviewing several new Penguin mysteries with similar themes-Fashion or Food! Murder after a Fashion: An Accessories Mystery by Grace Carroll, Thread and Buried By Janet Bolin, Close Knit Killer: A Knitting Mystery By Maggie Sefton, Mayhem at the Orient Express By Kylie Logan and Steamed to Death: A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery By Peg Cochran. Details on how to win all five at the end of this post.

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by Cynthia Chow


Leaving San Francisco and her successful career as an in-demand marketing expert, Jenna Hart allowed her Aunt Vera to convince her to return to her hometown of Crystal Cove, California. Aunt Vera owns the Fisherman’s Village Mall and wants Jenna to reopen the cookbook store and café.

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by Cynthia Chow


Since attorney Rachel Gold’s last appearance in 2002’s The Trophy Widow, life has been both a blessing and a curse. Although she is now the stepmother of two teenaged girls and the proud mother of Sam, only two when his father and Rachel’s husband Jonathan died just four years ago. Rachel has not been raising Sam alone though, as she has the full support of her mother and Benny Goldberg, the brilliant and profane tenured law professor and her former coworker at the Chicago law firm, Abbot and Windsor. Rachel now practices law in St. Louis at her own private firm, Brand and Gold, with her ex-paralegal and now a full attorney, the six foot three, formerly male pro football player, Jacki Brand.

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by Cynthia Chow


Harvard Square on a late November night would not have seemed so ominously spooky had Harvard graduate student Dulcie Schwartz not been spending her evenings transcribing the haunting ghost story of a handwritten manuscript, possibly written by the author central to Dulcie’s doctoral thesis. However, the need to grade the student papers that she had forgotten in her office sends her back to the campus building and has her braving the lonely night and jumping at the sound that seems all to reminiscent of a wolf’s howl.

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by Cynthia Chow
& Timothy Hallinan


There’s a good reason why professional thief Junior Bender would prefer to give up his side occupation as a private detective for criminals. With criminals as clients who want other criminals investigated, someone is always going to be unhappy and the probability is high that that someone already has a record of not following the law.

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by Cynthia Chow
& Waverly Fitzgerald


A divorce, the tanking of the real estate market, and being forced to move into a one-bedroom condo all have home stager Geri Sullivan in dire need of some unconditional love. That’s what she’s looking for when she goes to the Humane Society to pick out one of the 40 Chihuahuas shipped to Seattle after a certain celebrity made the purse dogs so popular that the Los Angeles shelters could no longer house them once the pets lost their trendiness. What Geri got was a sidekick with his own forceful personality, who nudges her into a new profession and becomes her companion, best friend, and life coach. Oh, and he also talks, telling Geri that his name is Pepe, now Pepe Sullivan.

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Little Elvises By Timothy Hallinan

IN THE June 15 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Ted Feit


A pattern seems to be developing in the Junior Bender series. In the debut novel, Crashed, Junior, a professional burglar, was blackmailed, indirectly, by Trey Annunziato, the female head of a crime family, to steal a Klee. In this, the second book in the series, he is blackmailed by a detective to try to protect his uncle, Vincent DiGaudio, from a murder rap. I guess we’ll have to wait for the third installment, expected in June, The Fame Thief, to find out whether the trend continues.

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by Cynthia Chow


One would have thought that being Frank Michaels of Channel Three’s Frank Finance Show would mean that “Mr. Finance” would be the least likely to fall victim to a Ponzi scheme. Unfortunately, for Maddie Michaels though, her husband did invest all of their savings with an investor who promptly stole all of their money, leaving it up to Maddie to figure out a way to scrimp and save and not have Frank risk losing his reputation and job at the television station due to his poor judgment.

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by Cynthia Chow
& Sandra Murphy


Here we are again with another great group of 5 Penguin mystery novels filled with sleuthing cats, dogs, clothes, supernatural, cooking & more! Killer in Crinolines: A Consignment Shop Mystery by Duffy Brown, Cat Nap: A Sunny & Shadow Mystery By Claire Donally, Trouble Vision: A Raven’s Nest Bookstore Mystery By Allison Kingsley, Bled and Breakfast: An Immortality Bites Mystery By Michelle Rowen and Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J. Parra.

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by Cynthia Chow
& Sandra Murphy


I admit it. I absolutely loved the first two seasons of Glee, I have two of their CDs downloaded on my phone, and Pitch Perfect was one of my favorite movies of the last year. However, even I had a few trepidations of how a murder mystery could be interwoven into an environment where song mash-ups should have been the greatest objects of contention without it being a hook to simply jump on the current popularity of singing competitions.

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by Diana Hockley


What a treat it is to return to the “old-fashioned” murder mystery–the country house party–in the style of Agatha Christie, but with modern techniques. The first intriguing aspect is that this book, among a plethora of American whodunits, is set in Toronto, Canada.

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by Cynthia Chow


Maybe Freud had it right. It’s all about the mothers. In Dennis Palumbo’s third mystery featuring Pittsburgh psychologist Daniel Rinaldi, the acerbic but still hopeful PSTD specialist finds himself enlisted in two cases, due to his reputation and featured presence in the media stemming from several recent brutal events. After Wesley Currim confesses to the robbery and murder of the missing businessman, Edward Meachem, Currim agrees to reveal the location of the body only if Rinaldi, the psychologist Currim has seen on television, accompanies them to West Virginia to deal with his “trauma.”

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by Cynthia Chow
& Sue Owens Wright


A freelance reporter for the Tahoe Tattler and full-time advocate for basset hounds, Elsie “Beanie” MacBean finds herself unable to be objective when covering the story of Lakeside Animal Shelter and its inhumane conditions. Her empathy also prevents her from ignoring an unadopted “problem” basset hound named Calamity who more than lives up to her name but whose imminent death sentence has Beanie taking on the adorable hound and her less than attractive talents of destruction.

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by Jessica Ham




The Great Gatsby is a book that almost every high school student has had to read. Most of the time students hate the books they are forced to read in school, but I can guarantee you that The Great Gatsby is not one of them. I read it my junior year of high school and although I knew nothing about it, the description sounded intriguing. I got a couple pages in and I was hooked.

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